The Brazilian Steakhouse: What is a Gaucho?

Brazilian food is an exotic experience packed with fresh ingredients and spices to leave you feeling satisfied and full. A lot of the dishes give off a comfort food vibe, making them a popular choice in the United States. Brazilian steakhouses have been popping up everywhere in recent years, often displaying their mascot, the Gaucho.

What is a Gaucho? The Gaucho is the original cowboy, the reason we have such delicious Brazilian meats and steakhouses. The Gaucho was a nomadic cowboy in South America, who rode across the pampas (grasslands) of Argentina and Uruguay from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. They also became popular in Brazil during their era. They have become an important part of South American history, lending to the culture and shaping the development of the countries they inhabited.

Gauchos started popping up and gaining popularity when European traders came and made a profitable business for those who could trade tallow and hides. They began hunting down herds of wild cattle which had become wild after their escape and prosperity on the pampas. They used lassos, knives, and boladeros (bolas) to capture and process the animals. A boladero is a device made of three leather strands with iron balls tied at the end and was thrown at the legs of the cattle to trip them up and make them easier to catch. Because of their trade for hides, the Gaucho subsisted primarily on the meat of the animals they rounded up.

Eventually, large estates moved in and the pampas were fenced off. The Gauchos become nothing more than mere stable hands used to move and handle the cattle. Eventually the wild cattle numbers were reduced, and the estates began raising purebred animals. Ultimately, they stayed on as stable hands or joined their country’s military, but their former glory days would always be remembered through the rich histories and stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

View our other blogs to learn more great information about Gauchos and Brazilian steakhouses!